From the editor: Now, a bittersweet ‘goodbye’

Goodbyes are hard, especially when you’re leaving a place you’ve grown to love and consider home. As many readers know, this past year has been a difficult one for me personally, and two months ago, I decided it was time for me to explore a move to Denver to be closer to my family, including my first grandchild, an adorable grandson named Mica.

Once I made up my mind, things moved quickly, almost as if Mike was pulling strings from up above to help me launch the next chapter of my life, and this column marks my final one as editor of Steamboat Pilot & Today. My last day at the Pilot & Today will be Dec. 8, and while I had hoped to be here longer, I’m extremely proud of the journalism we’ve produced over the past eight and a half years.

We’ve tackled tough topics, sparked important community dialogue and held our elected officials accountable through watchdog journalism. We’ve covered the accomplishments, victories and challenges faced by the people who call Routt County home, and we have helped our readers keep track of all that is happening in town through our Happenings listings and weekly Explore sections.

This business is challenging and ever evolving, and the Pilot & Today has survived and thrived by embracing new methods of connecting audiences with the content we create. Our team may be leaner than it’s been in the past, but our mission is unchanged. We continue to publish impactful, award-winning community journalism that provides locals and visitors with the hyper-local news they depend on to navigate life in the Yampa Valley.

Ultimately, newspapers like the Pilot & Today reflect the heartbeat of their communities. People sometimes love to hate us, and we have our fair share of regular critics, but when communities lose their local newspapers, they often realize their value too late. It’s my hope this community supports the Pilot & Today for decades to come, and I have no doubt the team will continue to do great work under the leadership of new editor Eli Pace.

It has been an honor and a highlight of my journalism career to have served this community as editor of the Pilot & Today. I have so many fond memories of this amazing place, but my greatest joy has been working alongside an impressive team of journalists who do an incredible job day in and day out and truly care about the communities and people we cover.

The current lineup of John F. Russell, Shelby Reardon, Kari Dequine Harden, Dylan Anderson, Alison Berg, Suzie Romig, Bryce Martin, Katie Berning, Mackenzie Hicks and Sophie Dingle is extremely talented, and they have proven their worth over and over again, especially during the pandemic. I also have enjoyed watching former members of the Pilot & Today team go on to new opportunities and thrive. This gifted group includes Scott Franz, Joel Reichenberger, Julia Ben Asher, Nicole Miller, Laura Mazade, Tom Ross, Teresa Ristow, Matt Stensland, Derek Maiolo, Eleanor Hasenbeck, Michael Armstrong, Vicky Ho, Mackenzie Yelvington, Luke Graham, Leah Vann, Austin Colbert, Ben Ingersoll, Jonathan Barrett, Christina Grant, Audrey Dwyer, Eugene Buchanan and the late Jim Patterson.

I am grateful to Scott Stanford for hiring me, Suzanne Schlicht and Logan Molen for guiding me in their roles as publisher of the Pilot & Today and Jim Morgan for serving as my mentor before he retired from Swift Communications.

I also want to thank our community of readers, near and far, for accepting me and embracing me during my time here. You’ve never been shy about offering me feedback, and I’ve always appreciated that. I’ve grown as a leader, journalist and a human being because this community demands excellence, and I like to think I rose to the challenge.

Beginning Jan. 3, 2022, I will take on the new role of editor-in-chief at Colorado Community Media, where I will lead the news teams for two dozen Colorado newspapers and websites in the Denver metro area. CCM was sold earlier this year to The Colorado News Conservancy, a partnership of The Colorado Sun and the National Trust for Local News dedicated to fostering community journalism, and I am excited about working with the impressive teams at these organizations.

Leaving here isn’t easy, and I will miss everything about Steamboat Springs and Routt County. But who knows? Maybe the famous “Yampa Valley Curse” will lure me back one day. But in the meantime, I won’t be a stranger. I still have property in North Routt, and I intend to visit as often as I can.

This community will always hold a special place in my heart, as it did Mike’s, and so it’s not goodbye, just best wishes until I see you again.

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